School's out!

Summer is winding down. The MN State Fair is over, and the temperature can drop 10 degrees in 10 minutes while the wind whips up grit from the street in every direction at once. I bought a new Gustavus Adolphus sweatshirt on Monday when I dropped my daughter off for her sophomore year and ended up wearing it by Monday evening. And as I watch kids making their way to bus stops, new backpacks and back-to-school shoes on, I gloat quietly because

I'm. All. Done.

That's right, y'all. I am officially certified as a Master Health Coach. Just call me Master Nicki.

(This is extra fun to say because my partner is also a Master. He has a real-live Master's Degree AND after 20+ years of training is a 5th degree Master in Kuk Sool Won. I spent a few thousand dollars and 9 months and now I am claiming equivalency.)

Now you might assume from the gloating that I wasn't enjoying being back in school again after 20 years, but that's not the case. School was and is something I really love, so much that I strongly considered making a career out of it (i.e. "getting my PhD in English"). Being back in school again felt great -- it's something I'm good at and I do love being good at things. But I put everything else on hold while I was in this program because I am not allowed to start new things until I have finished what I've started.

I'm a first-coat-of-paint kind of person. I love that first stripe you roll on, a totally different color all new and shiny, the vision in my head of how amazing the room is going to look once it's all done...

And then I'm ready to walk away and start knitting a scarf. Or scrub one wall of the shower. Or cut up the potatoes but get bored before I get to the onions, so I put the cut-up potatoes in a container in the fridge where they get brown and guilt-inducing. What I do not enjoy is putting on the second coat of paint, and the third, and cleaning the brushes, and taking down the tape, and finding the little mistakes and missed spots and fixing them. I am not wired for follow-through.

But I know this about myself, and I can and do create systems that help me ensure that I finish what I start. In the case of going back to school, the system was simple: "You don't get to start working on the business until you've finished school." That's not to say I didn't have clients while I was in school -- one of the reasons I'm formalizing my credentials is that I've been doing this work in a semi-formal and underpaid way for years. But I wasn't out seeking clients. I wasn't creating content, I wasn't networking or marketing, I wasn't building anything -- I was focused on the established business with my partner (our martial arts school) and my classes.

But now? Now it's time to paint. School's out, and it's time to get to work.